Some locking systems are easier


Some brands of plank are easier to work with than other brands. Some have designed their locking systems to be a lot simpler for the installer or DIY’er. They still all have one thing in common though and that’s they all have a tongue and a groove. What makes some easier is the butt joint.

Butt joint first-

When you are ready to install a plank the first step is to slide the butt joint into place, this is done by placing the tongue into the groove. The plank needs to be held at a steep angle or upward, then you slowly drop the plank down to a flat position and then slide the long part of the plank into the groove. Again this would be sliding the tongue into the groove.

Doing it like this takes a little practice to get the hang of it and the first few rows that you install will be the most difficult. Once you get going it will get easier. It also can be very challenging to do this in tight areas like doorjambs, around cabinets and in hallways.

There is a method that I use to help in these situations and we will talk about that soon.

The long joint first

Then there is another way that the tongue and groove locking system is used. The long joint gets slid into place first and then the plank just lays down into the butt joint. What holds the butt joint into place is the next row of planks. Shaw Flooring is the manufacturer of this type of locking system and it is found in their Laminate Flooring Lines.

One of the thing you need to be sure of when using this locking system is that you will need to glue the butt joints in the last row. If you don’t, they can pop up very easily. The trim when installed will also help with holding those joints down. 

The other type of butt joint is a tap and lock. This plank is installed the long joint first and laid into place and the butt joint is beaten into place. The problems that I have ran into with this type of locking system is if you need to take a plank out, the butt joint will break, making the plank unusable except when using it for an end cut at the end of a row.

I have also noticed that these butt joints look different on some brands. They can be seen and it can really look terrible. 



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